Useful Bible Studies > 1 Kings Commentary > chapter 7

The pool for the priests, called ‘the Sea’

1 Kings 7:23-26

God’s law commanded Israel’s priests to wash their hands and feet before they carried out their sacred duties (Exodus 30:17-21). So, the temple, God’s house in Jerusalem, needed water for this purpose. The temple was at the top of a hill, so people needed to bring the water there by hand (compare Joshua 9:27). Then it was necessary to store the water, so that water would always be available for the priests.

Hiram made a pool out of the metal called bronze, to store this water. It was called ‘the Sea’. Like everything that Hiram made, it was very beautiful. It was a round pool, 15 feet (5 metres) across, and it looked like a flower. Under its edge, there was a pattern in the shape of two rows of the fruit called gourds. These patterns were small. Much larger were the models of strong farm animals called oxen, on which the pool stood. It seemed as if these 12 animals were carrying the pool on their backs. These models of oxen seemed to look out in all directions; three of them were on each of the four sides.

We may ask what these things mean. In the Bible, dirt is a word-picture for our evil deeds (Psalm 51:7). Clean hands are a word-picture for a right relationship, in the heart (inner person), with God (Psalm 24:4). The 12 oxen were like Israel’s 12 tribes (family groups), each of which had its proper place (Numbers chapter 2). In Hiram’s design, those 12 oxen all joined together to serve God: they carried the water. In the same way, it was the duty of all Israel’s people to serve God loyally and joyfully. The oxen looked out towards the whole world; in the same way, the whole world would benefit when Israel’s people served God loyally and joyfully (Psalm 100).

Next part: Ten stands to support basins of water (1 Kings 7:27-29)


Please use the links at the top of the page to find our other articles in this series. You can download all our articles if you go to the download page for our free 1000+ page course book.


© 2024, Keith Simons.